DeMarcus Cousins' career year has flown under the radar due to the dominance of a couple Western Conference clubs, but there was nothing subtle about his explosive performance in the Sacramento Kings' 108-97 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night at Sleep Train Arena.
Cousins finished with a career-high 48 points (17-of-29 shooting, 13-of-20 from the free-throw line), 13 rebounds and two assists.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Cousins is the only player this season to record multiple games with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds. The only other players who have accomplished the feat once are Jimmy Butler, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Blake Griffin.
Boogie has also topped 30 points and 10 rebounds in 11 games this season—five more than the second-place Davis, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
With Sacramento leading big late, the Kings faithful in attendance erupted in applause for their big man, according to CSN California's James Ham:
MVP chants for DeMarcus Cousins.— James Ham (@James_Ham) January 24, 2016
From interior dominance to fast break slams and even some three-point theatrics, Cousins did it all against the league's fourth-stingiest defense:
"Is there a better center playing basketball right now in the NBA? I don't think there is," Kings head coach George Karl said, according to ESPN.com. "He's helped us at both ends of the court. ... I don't know anybody that's playing at this level right now, and I hope the NBA recognizes it and gives him an opportunity to play in Toronto [at the All-Star Game]."
It's hard to argue with Karl's assessment.
Cousins is the only player averaging at least 25 points and 10 rebounds per game this season, and he's currently posting averages of 32.4 points and 13.7 rebounds in January, according to Sactown Royalty's Blake Ellington.
Thanks to Cousins' monstrous effort, the Kings have won five straight games and occupy the Western Conference's No. 8 seed. And now that a potential intrastate first-round matchup between the Kings and Warriors is within the realm of possibility, it's on Cousins to help make that intriguing showdown a reality.
With the Kings rolling, Cousins praised his team’s effort.
"I'm glad to get a new career high but I’m more happy about the way this team is playing," Cousins said, according to the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones.
Cousins also laid out his priorities and explained the motivation behind Saturday night’s scoring outburst, per Jones:
When reporter mentioned the All-Star game as a goal, Cousins replied: "Playoffs. Playoffs, playoffs, playoffs."— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) January 24, 2016
Cousins said he was "Trick Daddy" tonight because he tricked off the 50-point game Vlade Divac was encouraging him to go for from the tunnel— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) January 24, 2016
Kings rookie Willie Cauley-Stein offered his take on what it's like playing alongside Cousins, according to Ham:
“It’s fun, you can talk trash cause you know Boogie gonna come in and do his sh**. It’s fun.” -Cauley-Stein on Cousins— James Ham (@James_Ham) January 24, 2016
"I'm extremely proud of the building we've been doing, but I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface," Cousins added, according to Katie Cracchiolo of the team’s official website.